Anne Hathaway on the creepy question a reporter asked her at 16

Anne Hathaway was at Sundance over the weekend with her latest project Eileen. She wore this corseted Versace puffer coat over her LBD. I want to laugh off the concept of a corseted down jacket but Anne’s pulling it off. I love the look. The film is based on the book by Otessa Moshfegh about a staff psychologist and secretary who work at the same prison in the 1960s and form a “homoerotic bond,” according to Variety. The film is being promoted as a darkly funny thriller and it was well received at Sundance, so I’m intrigued enough to look for reviews. While doing Q&As over the weekend, Anne told reporters that when she was just 16 years old, a reporter asked her if she was “a good girl or a bad girl?” Ew. Do we even need to ask if it was a male or female reporter?

Anne Hathaway said she was asked if she was a “good girl or a bad girl” by a journalist when she was just 16.

“I just remembered one of the very first questions I ever got asked when I started acting and had to do press was: Are you a good girl or a bad girl?” Hathaway said, according to Variety. “I was 16. And my 16-year-old self wanted to respond with this film.”

Based on the 2015 novel of the same name by Otessa Moshfegh, “Eileen,” a thriller, follows a young woman living a grim life in Boston in the 1960s. While working at a prison, a woman named Rebecca (Hathaway) joins the staff and changes Eileen’s life.

[From Huffington Post]

“Are you a good girl or a bad girl?” women are either asked or assigned these labels far too soon and too often and those labels stick with us. They do damage at any age, but certainly to someone at the age of 16. And it’s not just the overt sexualization of the question, although that certainly made my skin is crawl, but the fact that most teen women struggle with self-worth and that question is loaded in so many ways. I hate all of this. Anne said above that “my 16-year-old self wanted to respond with this film,” to that reporter. I hope her character gets to do something terrible to a reporter in it. Doesn’t have to be physical, but have them fired, at least.

The film does sound intriguing and Anne can play messed up characters well. I am possibly the only person who was not enthralled with Lapvona, which is another Ottessa Moshfegh book that everyone raved about. I haven’t read Eileen but I like dark thrillers. And Anne said she took the job because she liked “the female complication” in the story. She also felt director William Oldroyd was the right choice to handle the material so I’m relying on her judgement here.

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27 Responses to “Anne Hathaway on the creepy question a reporter asked her at 16”

  1. T3PO says:

    It seems every woman famous or not has some story similar to this that we all remember (probably several) which is of course gross and sad.

  2. SomeChick says:

    there’s no winning with either label either. I love that she’s talking about this! go, Anne!

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Exactly. So many people are willfully ignorant about that. They try to absolve themselves by saying dumb shit like, “slut-shaming and victim-blaming aren’t misogyny because I respect females who aren’t Unclean.” Besides the stupidity of believing that treating one woman right cancels out their abuse of another, and the inherent violent misogyny of requiring women to earn the right to not be abused and disrespected through a purity score, they’re not really respecting the ‘respectable girl’ either. It puts pressure on women who are on the right side of that dichotomy to numb themselves to what’s happening to the women on the other side and be in a constant state of distancing yourself from them. It’s a threat dressed up as kindness, and it reduces the classy woman to something she may not actually like being reduced to.

  3. Everything is Roses says:

    I am the same age as Anne Hathaway and I remember teen girls being extremely sexualized in the late 90s. I look back now and I’m totally flabbergasted and disgusted at how casually adults harrased children and how no one did anything about it.

    • Yup, Me says:

      Same. And how casually pervasive it was.

      • Bad Janet says:

        I am the same age as Anne Hathaway, Britney Spears, Natalie Portman, Jodie Sweetin, Kirsten Dunst, Jessica Biel, and Dominique Moceanu (the gymnast). And just a little younger than Claire Danes, Julia Stiles, Jessica Simpson, and Brandy. I remember feeling grossed out and second-hand embarrassed by the questions they’d get asked! They were so inappropriate and disrespectful. I don’t know who thought it was okay to ask kids about their breasts and their sex lives, but I’m glad this is no longer considered completely normal by almost everybody.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      The 00s and 10s too. The media loves to pit the two against each other. Usually as a way of bullying the current ‘bad girl’, until the current ‘good girl’ is no longer seen as an interesting and perfect little weapon, and is discarded for a newer one. I suspect that a lot of what was seen as certain pop stars being jelly h8rs was really just some young women getting irritated with the way their industry peers were used against them, but not knowing the best way to express it.

    • Lucky Charm says:

      I was a teenager in the 80’s and it was just as bad then, too. Women and girls have always been treated as objects to be lusted after or valued, depending on what men deem our worth.

  4. Normades says:

    Looking at that adorable picture of baby Anne just makes it even worse to visualize.

  5. what's inside says:

    Remember the term pop tart applied to Britney and Christina? And the whole hooker look applied to very young girls? That is a man’s fantasy.

    • Eating Popcorn says:

      Is it a man’s fantasy or is it just a particular kind of creeps fantasy?

      • Chanteloup says:

        Important distinction. I would support the latter.

      • Betsy says:

        When all the other men don’t say anything and when asked about it say we’re just being sensitive, yeah, it’s a man’s fantasy.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Both female modesty and female immodesty are male fantasies. The equating immodesty with hooker is a creepy, entitled type of male fantasy too, because it implies that not following a certain dress code= automatic consent.

  6. JoanCallamezzo says:

    It was open season on girls in the 70’s and 80’s too. We were conditioned to think it was normal.

    • Amanda says:

      Right?!!! I remember reading, “In 1975, a 10 year old Brooke Shields posed naked for a Playboy publication called “Sugar and Spice” and feeling so sick to my stomach…

    • HoofRat says:

      Remember the Love’s Baby Soft ads? So freaking obscene that nobody (including me) thought how sick it was for young teens to wear perfume scented like baby powder.

      • Betsy says:

        I don’t remember if the ads had any questionable content so I can’t speak to that, but since Chanel No. 5 (at least) “powder” has been a note in high fragrance. That one’s not sick at all.

  7. Yonati says:

    Answer:
    Are you a pedophile or just stupid?

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Agree. I wish she had named and shamed the reporter as I am certain that the misogynistic POS is well known by other actors in the industry.

      No one, I mean no one should be asking young women actors these questions.

  8. Otaku fairy says:

    You’re right about it being damaging. One way Celebitchy does a good job with not playing into that is by avoiding whole posts with pictures of underage girls dedicated to getting adults to… debate… the teen’s sexual morality. Other sites have had a gross habit of doing that. Another way we all can avoid repeating these mistakes with other girls is by not posting photos of underage girls to start those kinds of arguments in comment sections and on social media period. People also need to be careful in how they discuss the children of women they dislike.

  9. Isabella says:

    I remember that question from my own childhood. Can’t believe it’s still a thing. It’s always asked by a creepy male hoping to sexualize you.

  10. Emily_C says:

    It could have been a woman who asked her. Barbara Walters asked some seriously gross questions in her time.

    I’d have responded “I’m Dorothy Gale from Kansas.” This is what women are still always asked, and the boxes we’re shoved into, and it’s usually by other women. Are you a good witch or a bad witch? You aren’t allowed to be a person, a human being, who is here to live. As soon as you refuse to buy into the Madonna/Whore, good witch/bad witch dichotomy, you will get attacked by a whole lot of people. But trust me, it’s a better life anyway.

  11. Truthiness says:

    Matt Lauer’s interview with Anne for Les Mis focusing on her skirt slip getting out of a car was beyond creepy, even though she was of age. Sadly she’s had to become adept at dealing with skeevy impulses.

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